LUSAKA Province PF vice youth chairperson Kelvin Kaunda has insisted that it is risky to hold a party convention given the spike in COVID-19 cases.
And Kaunda says the ruling party has endorsed President Edgar Lungu as sole candidate even before the convention because no member has expressed their intentions to challenge him.
Speaking on Diamond TV breakfast show, Monday, Kaunda said it was risky for the party to hold the general conference under the current conditions.
“It is possible for us to rely on the provincial executive of the committee. I did submit, if we were to go the convention way, it would be risky not only for the President but for the entire delegates. We have been having these provincial elections and the provincial general members of the Patriotic Front have spoken and that is why they have been able to entrust their mandate in the provincial leadership. So why don’t we allow these provincial leadership to be the one to convene not physically, so that we are able to mitigate the risk that we are likely to face when we bring everybody else in one place,” Kaunda said.
“I haven’t seen huge gatherings recently, yes there have been some gatherings but those are manageable gatherings. We have seen how COVID has been able to transform ways of doing things, the corporate world has embraced virtual meetings, are the decisions of virtual meetings valid? The answer is yes. Is PF as a party an exception? No.”
He added that the party had no luxury of time as regards to holding of the party convention adding that the convention was supposed to be held before the dissolution of Parliament.
“There are many stakeholders that would want to participate including other stakeholders and including the media. Tell me that you would want to stay away from our convention only to wait for the results. The chances are that all the stakeholders would want to come through. When you look at the PF party constitution it starts with the colleagues from the constituencies as delegates to the convention. You are looking at all elected councilors, all elected mayors and council chairpersons, all elected members of parliament. These are not small numbers we are looking at,” Kaunda said.
“That is why we are saying Instead of going through this convention way, let provincial leadership have a consultative meetings with their members in that particular province and then the provincial leadership can escalate the resolutions from their provinces and be able to coordinate those resolutions from a virtual meeting. That way it safe guards the way of our people. Over and above our position, what must reign supreme in every mind of a politician is the health of our people. It is very urgent, we don’t have the luxury of time. It will be ideal to have the convention some time next month but at least before the dissolution of government.”
And Kaunda said there was no PF member who had expressed their intentions to challenge President Lungu at the convention.
“So far we have not heard of anyone, central committee took a position that the sole candidate we have as a party is His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu. We have not heard from anyone amongst the party membership who would want to contest the incumbent. We don’t have anyone because we are happy with the leadership. We can’t talk about someone who was expelled, he is not part and parcel of the family. If they are there, let them come out. We are agreeing with the position the central committee has taken. If there are others who want to challenge the incumbent, let them come out, how else shall we know? Let them not be cowards. If we only have one person who has filed in their nomination, why should we make it an issue to go for a convention? All we need to do is endorse. Why should we change when there is no need for change?” wondered Kaunda.